In Reply to: Scuffed seats posted by giovanni on June 07, 2001 at 06:41:28:
When I was in college I worked for two years at a high-end auto upholstery shop (Porsches, Jags, BMWs were our target market). From my experience here are your options (in decreasing order of cost):
1. $$$$$ - Order a new seat cover from BMW & have a professional auto upholstery shop install it. It's an original part & you know it will fit.
2. $$$$ - Order a replica seat cover from an aftermarket manufacturer (http://www.worlduph.com/), buy a pair of "hog ring" pliers, & some "hog rings" (metal rings that hold the seat covers on) and do the work yourself (it's really not hard - just time consuming). Be careful here as sometimes the leather quality is inconsistent and the fit you are able to get is not always exact, but the price is not too bad. TIP: Use a hair dryer or leave the seat cover in the sun for a while to "soften" the leather up before installing as it allows the leather to give and stretch a little.
3. $$$ - Bring the car to an auto upholstery shop & have them replace the leather just from the bolster area section - all they do is resew back in a new piece of leather to replace the bad section. We used to do this work for the BMW dealer ALL the time - in fact we stocked leather hides of most popular colors for quick turnaround and I would imagine most high quality shops do the same. They can order some leather already dyed that closely matches the leather in your car. Don't let them jack the price on you by telling you that they have order the leather and re-dye it for you too.
4. $$ - If the leather is in good shape (not torn or worn thin), have an upholstery shop professionally redye the leather, blending the color into the rest of the seat if you don't redye the whole seat.
5. $ - Clean the seats with a good **leather** cleaner like Lexol Leather Cleaner, find a liquid leather shoe dye (you may have to hunt around, but grey shouldn't be too hard) that closes matches your seat color & apply it to the worn area several times. Wipe off the excess dye before it is completely dry & treat the entire seat to a good ***leather*** conditioner like Lexol Leather Conditioner or similar product. (NEVER NEVER use a product with silicone on your leather.)
Coincedentally, my '91 just needed the driver's bolster touched up, so last weekend I did #5 above and it looks brand new! Total cost = $17 for 2 bottles of Lexol (that I'll get to use over and over for about the next 2 years), $1.5 for Kiwi black shoe dye, and 20 minutes of my Saturday afternoon.
P.S. - If you go the upholstery redye route, make sure you find a reputable auto upholstery shop. I've seen some crappy redye jobs that actually made the leather stiff and had overspray all over the other interior parts. Ask your BMW dealer service manager who they sub-contract out their upholstery/interior work to in your town.
Was wondering if anyone has suggestions on how to repair the scuffed left hip and side bolsters on the driver's side seat of my E30 M3. I have gray colored leather seats.